Things to Do in Taiwan: The East Coast
A small Island nation located in the Pacific Ocean with the Philippines to the south, Japan to its northeast, China to its west, and the vast Pacific Ocean to its east, Taiwan is home to vibrant culture, modern cities, sandy beaches, ornate temples, natural hot spring resorts, and dramatic mountain terrain. The presence of such beautiful landscapes, rich culture, charming parks, vibrant cities and more have made the country one of the top havens for international tourists in recent years. Here are 5 places you should definitely visit if you ever find yourself in Taiwan’s East Coast.
1. Taroko Gorge National Park
One of nine National parks in Taiwan, the spectacular Taroko Gorge National Park is so vast it spans three counties across Taiwan’s East Coast – Hualien County, Taichung Municipality and Nantou County. It is possibly the most remarkable and diverse spot in Taiwan for tourists to walk amidst massive canyons, lush mountain forests, rushing rivers and waterfalls, abundant wildlife, and a wide variety of different ecological settings. Some of the cant-miss sights are Changuang Temple, Shakadang Trail, Zhuilu Old Trail (Jhuilu Old Trail), Qingshui Cliffs, Cimu Bridge, The Tunnel of Nine Turns (Currently closed as of May 2017), Swallow Grotto, Baiyang Waterfalls Trail and the Lushui Trail. Your exploration of Taiwan would not be complete if you didn’t visit Taroko Gorge National Park.
2. Taiwan’s East Rift Valley
A few kilometers south of Hualien City is located another expansive protected area, the East Rift Valley National Scenic Area. A largely agricultural and ecological area, the East Rift Valley boasts numerous impressive attractions and sights including lakes, ranches, waterfalls, ancient and historical buildings and hot springs. A green paradise between two towering mountain ranges, the East Rift Valley shouldn’t be missed. Highlights include the Mataian Wetlands ecological area, bicycle riding in Danong Dafu Forest Park, Liyu Lake, Fenghuang Waterfall and much more. It is also a wonderful place to experience unique delectable aboriginal cuisine.
3. Taiwan’s East Coast National Scenic Area
On the other side of the Coastal Mountain range from the East Rift Valley lies Taiwan’s stunning East Coast National Scenic Area. Home to various attractions including beaches, gorges, coral reefs and more, the magical drive down Taiwan’s Coastal Highway 11 is an absolute must experience. Some highlights include Jici beach, Fanshuliao Gorge and the unreal Shihtiping. A spectacular coastal rock formation created by the constant tectonic collisions of the Earth’s plates and millions of years of oceanic erosion, Shihtiping is a remarkable place you have to see in person to fully appreciate.
4. Taitung Tourism Night Market
Since the emergence of Taitung’s Tourism Night Market, Taitung’s nightlife has changed into a must experience stop on any trip to Taiwan’s East Coast. During the day, the market his home to countless produce vendors selling locally grown fruits and veggies. And when the sun sets, it becomes an energetic night market built to entertain and placate any visitor’s taste buds. Chairs and tables are arranged on the street, food stalls line the square and live local musicians take the outdoor stage most nights. It is a wonderful place to have a nice meal and experience entertainment with friends or family. All without draining the pockets. Yummy street snacks that can be found here include: Hunan Crispy Pockets, Gua Bao (a fluffy white steamed bun, filled with the succulent grilled pork, pickled vegetables and peanut powder),Takoyaki(a fist-sized ball-shaped Japanese snack filled with diced octopus, broccoli, shrimp and mushrooms) and many more.
5. Mukumugi Valley (also called Mugua River Gorge or Mugumuyu)
If you’re lucky enough to be in Taiwan and you love experiencing incredible natural beauty, you have GOT to visit the Mugua River Gorge. An area in Taiwan blessed with mesmerizing, crystal clear waters, waterfalls, lush forests and unique aboriginal culture; it is a terrific way to spend a day while in the Hualien area. This area is listed as one of the East Coast “highlights” in the Lonely Planet Taiwan Guide book, and for good reason. Within the Mugua River Gorge itself and in the surrounding area, there are numerous places to explore, including Emerald Valley, Tongmen, Liyu Lake, Wunlan, Zimu Falls, the Miyawan River, Rainbow Falls and more!